Endless exits Crown Paints in sale to world-leading coatings supplier, Hempel

UK private equity house, Endless LLP, has today sold Crown Paints to world-leading coatings supplier, Hempel.

The transaction sees Endless successfully exit Crown Paints after acquiring the business in September 2008. The terms and value of the transaction are undisclosed.

Hempel, which was established in Denmark nearly a century ago, is now a global business and supplies products to the decorative, protective, marine, container and yacht markets in more than 80 countries. The company recorded profits of €92 million on revenues of €889 million in 2010.

Hempel has acquired Crown Paints as one of the market leading businesses in the decorative coatings sector in the UK and Eire. In line with its growth strategy, Hempel now plans to draw on Crown Paints’ expertise in order to strengthen its decorative presence.

Endless and the management team at Crown Paints achieved a successful turnaround of the previously loss-making business in 2008 and went on to achieve profits of £20 million on sales of £180 million in 2010, whilst also increasing its market share for the last three years. Under Hempel’s ownership, they will continue to develop the business in the UK and Eire, retaining all of their brands and entire product range as well as continuing their commitment to best in class sustainability measures.

Commenting on the acquisition, Crown Paints’ chief executive, Brian Davidson, said: “This deal marks the next milestone in Crown Paints’ illustrious history and signals the next phase in our exciting and ambitious growth plans.

“This deal is of mutual benefit to the prosperity of both companies. Hempel recognises the talent, mature infrastructure and strong customer base that we have in our business, and is committed to developing Crown Paints’ brands in the UK and Eire. In return, we will use our well-developed industry know-how and market position to support the growth of Hempel’s existing decorative businesses.”

Davidson also paid tribute to Endless’s contribution to the business over the last three years, adding: “Endless invested into Crown Paints at a time of great uncertainty for the business, in the heart of the global financial crisis of late 2008. This helped to secure over 1,500 jobs when the business was loss-making and considered non-core by its previous owner. The subsequent improvement in Crown Paints’ trading performance since that time has been startling and befitting a brand of its stature.”

Hempel acquired Crown Paints as a result of its solid year-on-year growth and as part of its One Hempel – One Ambition strategy to double the size of the company over the coming years, in part by developing its presence in the global decorative coatings industry.

Chief executive of Hempel, Pierre-Yves Jullien, said: “Crown Paints represents everything we were looking for – from a solid position in the market and strong financial situation, to innovative R&D and marketing.

“Crown Paints’ strong foundation, history of quality, competencies and know-how are exactly what Hempel needs to support growth in our existing decorative business. The acquisition of Crown Paints will certainly help us in reaching our strategic goal.”

Warwick Ley, partner at Endless LLP, added: “We are tremendously proud to have partnered with Crown Paints over the last three years. It has been a significant success for us in many ways. The business has outperformed just about every key metric, which is an outstanding achievement given recent economic turmoil.

“We’re delighted for the people at Crown Paints that Hempel, a highly ambitious and exciting company, is the new owner. It is an ideal close to the Endless chapter in Crown’s history and we would like to wish everyone the very best and thank all the people at Crown Paints for their outstanding efforts and commitment.”

The Endless team comprised Warwick Ley, Peter Yendell and Indra Valeinis. Endless and management were advised by Deloitte Corporate Finance (Andy Westbrook, Martin Jenkins, Mark Adams, Matt Widdall, James Wigglesworth, Hamid Khan and Tom Frankum), Eversheds (Jonathan Robinson, Danny Hall and Alisdair Outhwaite), KPMG (vendor due diligence – John Hughes and Dave Laxton), Walker Morris (Jeremy Moore and Hannah Kitchen) and Rollitts (Neil Jennison and Steve Trynka).